A four-plex on 59th Avenue in Red Deer. (Photo from www.instantstreetview.com).

Inconsistent zoning on Red Deer street prompts review

Some higher density developments on 59th Avenue are not in compliance

An older avenue in north Red Deer is facing development pressures and is up for a zoning review.

A study is being done of 59th Avenue, between 67th Street and 69th Street Drive, looking at zoning, parking and traffic.

City of Red Deer senior planner Dayna Facca said a couple of applications have been received since 2016 from developers seeking to put up higher density buildings in place of the small apartments or four-plexes built on the street in the 1970s.

The trouble is, even the existing older apartments and four-plexes are no longer in compliance with zoning for the street, she added.

Facca explained the zoning was changed in the 1980s to low-density, single-detached homes and duplexes, after the city received a letter from area residents complaining that 59th Avenue was getting too congested.

Four options to remedy this situation were presented to city council Monday:

* Keeping the inconsistent status quo;

* creating a density cap for the district;

* rezoning the six legal, non-conforming properties into compliance with a zoning change to R2 from R1A;

* or rezoning the entire eastern side of 59th Avenue from 67th Street to Nash Street to R2 from R1A.

City administration recommended the third option, rezoning the six non-conforming properties into compliance. But some councillors felt that didn’t resolve the density issue.

Facca said 59th Avenue is a transitional street. It divides commercial and industrial operations, including a gas station and mail sorting station to the west, from residential streets to the east.

Feedback was collected from landowners within 100 metres of the study area. Of 166 letters that were sent out, 13 responses were received. Several asked the city to either reduce density or leave the housing mix as it is, with no apartments higher than four storeys.

After some discussion, city councillors asked Facca to explore a combination of options two and three and return with an amended report by January.


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